Shannon O’Mara

Shannon O’Mara

Associate director of credit research, Loomis Sayles & Co.

Noticing that only 18% of applicants for junior research positions were women, Shannon O’Mara decided to do something about it. In 2015, she founded the firm’s Undergraduate Women’s Investment Network, which offers year-long academic mentorships to female college students, in addition to internships, education and professional development.

Why are young women still not entering the field of investment management?

Ms. O’Mara offered some thoughts:

  • They were turned off by the Great Recession. “Some remember the global financial crisis and its effect on their parents and think, ‘I’m not sure I want to get involved,’”she said.
  • They don’t know what investment management is and get it confused with the heavily recruited investment banking sector.
  • There are so few other women in undergraduate finance classes.

“We’re trying to catch them in sophomore or junior year because it’s that key decision-making time for them,” Ms. O’Mara said.
— Deborah Nason